The Council of the European Union, sitting as ECOFIN, on its meeting of 5 October decided to remove a number of countries from the EU blacklist of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, whilst adding certain countries to the ‘watchlist’. The Council removed Anguilla, Dominica and Seychelles from the EU list, given they were considered ‘largely compliant’ by the OECD Global Forum regarding the exchange of information on request. A number of countries were added to the watchlist, formally Annex II, with countries that comply with international tax standards but that have yet to implementing EU’s tax good governance requirements. Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Malaysia, North Macedonia, Qatar and Uruguay have now been added to this document, while Australia, Eswatini and Maldives have have been removed for having implemented the necessary reforms, as stated by the Council.
The latest EU list update was called ‘grotesque’ by some European Parliament members and other critics, in light of the Pandora Papers revelations on the role of certain off-shore jurisdictions.